An Ad Impression Is An Impression Is An Impression…Or Is It?

by: Dick OHare, on Apr 23, 2012 in About

Through the evolution of the interactive advertising industry, there have been many approaches to packaging and pricing interactive advertising.  The three main “Cost Per…” pricing models are:

  • CPM (Cost per 1000 Impressions) means an advertiser pays a set rate for every 1000 times their ad loads on a website page.
  • CPC (Cost per Click) was introduced in the industry when search engine marketing was in its infancy back in the late nineties (anyone remember Alta Vista?).  It means an advertiser only pays a search engine (eg., Google) or publisher when their ad is clicked.
  • CPA (Cost per Action) evolved from direct marketers’ efforts of harnessing online advertising.  CPA means an advertiser will only pay the publisher when an “action” occurs. The action is defined by the advertiser.  An action could be a user filling out a lead form or making a track able purchase on the marketers website once the ad was seen.  There are many other examples.

No matter which form(s) of pricing an advertiser participates in, there is one common thread across all of them:  it all starts with an ad impression.  Meaning, it all starts with a user (consumer) seeing the advertiser’s ad on the web page (or in a search result).  Without the impression, there are no clicks.  How can you click on an ad you didn’t see?  And, without the impression, there are no actions driven directly from that ad message.  So, impressions are the fuel that drive interactive advertising performance.  Impressions are the common thread.

But, are all impressions the same?  Are all impressions valuable for the advertiser?  The short answer is no.

Impressions can vary from website to website.  Much of it depends on the website’s audience.  For example, we at Local Yokel Media have been surprised to see meaningful international impressions on some local websites, i.e. people viewing that website from a location outside the US.  To an advertiser looking to reach a local audience on that website, these international impressions are not of much value.

Other false impressions can sometimes be generated by websites that automatically refresh their pages in a very short time frame (eg., under three seconds).  Since these impressions were not generated by a user refreshing a browser page, but by automated means, they can be considered artificial from an advertiser’s perspective.  There can occasionally be other scenarios that artificially inflate impression count from a website as well.

In order to drive maximum value for an advertiser on a local publisher’s website, these types of undesirable or artificial impressions should be “filtered” out, and Local Yokel Media’s proprietary ad server has been engineered to do exactly that.  While there are no set industry standards on this, the Interactive Advertising Bureau has guidelines that we follow.  You can view them here.  Click on the US Guidelines link.

We believe that delivering the purest, hyperlocal ad impressions to advertisers leads to better-performing ads.  And, the better the advertiser’s experience is, the higher probability the advertiser keeps advertising hyperlocally to drive their message home to ONLY those local customers and prospects who can act on their local advertising message.

What do you think?  We’d love to know.

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